So you’re considering a career as a certified nursing assistant? Maybe you’ve just completed your CNA training and are ready to branch out into the real world of nursing. While this is a highly rewarding career, the amount of information you must master can be overwhelming. While starting any new job can be frustrating and anxiety-driven, this is even more so with a career as a certified nursing assistant. Thankfully, much like any other career, after you’ve gained experience these anxieties will begin to melt. In order to help streamline your career choice as a CNA, the following tips are designed to streamline the basic elements of success as a CNA.
Clarifying Employer Expectations
One of the biggest sources of confusion and anxiety for new CNAs doesn’t involve the actual duties of this position, as you’ve been thoroughly trained, but rather how your communication and duties relate to your employer. In order to help simplify and streamline this transition period, ask your current or potential employer the following questions:
- What is the uniform policy? Does the company help offset the cost of acquiring necessary uniforms?
- How often are performance reviews given? With a successful review, is there an opportunity for pay increases?
- What are the in-service hour requirements? Will the facility be able to offer the regulated 12-hour shift minimums?
- What level of benefits does the company offer? When do these benefits begin?
While these are the most basic questions you should ask a potential employer, it’s a great starting point to open dialogue.
Every CNA should carry a few essential items with them whenever they start a shift. While these items can vary based upon the exact patients you’ll be dealing with, most preparation kits should include:
- A working pen with a small pad of paper to take instant notes – this is essential when dictating subjective observations for the nursing staff or to take quick notes from your supervisors.
- Extra pairs of gloves – in the nursing world, you can never have too many gloves on hand.
- Tape measure – there are times when you must measure either the patient or pieces of equipment.
- Blood pressure kit. While maybe not appropriate for all CNAs, a portable blood pressure kit could save you tons of time when doing your rounds and checking vitals. You may also save the day when a nurse or physician requires an instant blood pressure reading.